Welcome!

Home - Introduction

The Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is made up of a community of faculty and staff who reflect the diversity and global relevance of South Asian Studies. Through our diverse academic disciplines, summer language institute, annual conference, student organizations and outreach programs, the Center seeks to define and promote greater understanding of South Asian history, language, religion and culture. We also support linkages to other relevant area studies and global studies programs that emphasize transnational flows of culture, people, money in ways that are important to a better understanding of South Asia both in the past and the present.

Featured DVD

Wedding Of The Goddess: Parts I & II

DVD – (78 minutes, 1976)

Download the Film Guide
Price: $195.00 + shipping and handling

wedding

Part One provides the historical background for the annual Chittirai festival in the South Indian city of Madurai. With tales from medieval Tamil poems, and paintings and sculptures from local temples, the film illustrates how the city, the main temple, the goddess Minakshi and the god Sundareshvara have evolved, and how the reenactment of the marriage of the god and goddess has become the most important annual festival of Madurai. The film shows the basic process of exchange between the temple deities and their worshippers and the importance of festivals in reestablishing cosmic order. The film also illustrates the ways in which kings, priests, and lay people contribute to the definitions and redefinitions of the festival’s many layers of meaning.

wedding2Part Two places the viewer in the midst of the annual Chittirai festival, providing an intimate picture of the day-and-night proceedings of the nineteen-day festival. The film shows brahman priests tracing the initial sacred diagram on the temple floor, the colorful reenactment of the goddess’s coronation and marriage, the circumambulation of the medieval city by deities in giant carts, a neighboring god’s journey to Madurai, and a cult initiation and spirit possession, as the festival unites gods and humans from all walks of life. Through interviews with participants, the film gives an unusual glimpse of the continually-changing patterns of festival celebration.

Available in the online store.

News

  • Emeritus Professor Henry C. Hart (1916-2014) March 24, 2015

    Dear CSA Community,

    Our Center director and staff wanted to share the news of the passing of an important figurehead in the South Asia Studies program at UW-Madison

    Emeritus Professor Henry C. Hart (1916-2014)

    Emeritus Professor Henry Hart passed away on 12 November 2014, on the ...

  • The Heart, the Brain, and Society: Buddhist and Scientific Perspectives on the Cultivation of Well-being March 11, 2015

    hhkarmapa-230x300

    Date/Time
    Date(s) – April 27, 2015
    7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

    His Holiness the 17th Karmapa to Visit Tergar Madison April 2015

    Tergar Meditation Community and the University ...

  • Alash Ensemble comes to the Folklore Village February 25, 2015

    Alash Ensemble, a group of traditional Tuvan throat singers/musicians will be in concert at Folklore Village the night of Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 pm.
    Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (65 +) and $4 for kids 12 years and under. Tickets are available ...

  • Former Faculty member George Hart Awarded the Padma Shri By the Govt of India January 28, 2015

    CSA is proud to share the news of a friend and past UW faculty member (1969-73, 1974-75) George Hart has just been awarded the Padma Shri, among the highest honors given by the Government of India. Dr. Hart, Professor Emeritus in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies.

    Please ...

See More News→